The article originally published on investing.com
Many years ago, several hundred crypto-enthusiasts included in a closed e-mail list received a letter signed by Satoshi Nakamoto. He said in his letter that he was working on creating a new electronic cash settlement system, in which transactions were carried out directly between the participants without the involvement of a third party.
Most of the recipients of this letter were skeptical about it. Why? There were many reasons. A huge factor in this negative feedback laid in the fact that subscribers of the closed mailing were “crypto-punks” — a community of people interested in cryptography and anonymity as a tool for safeguarding individual privacy. They were a minority.
Perhaps this is the most interesting question for sociologists and futurologists: How does a small group of people, obsessed with their ideas, take the place of the majority?
The beginning steps of major social movements are often laid by the minority. These, at first, “shake up” the majority, and then, in some cases, the groundbreakers develop into the majority themselves. The whole history of humanity is built around the opposition of the minority and the majority.
An interesting proposal is presented by the former head of the Laboratory for Socio-Psychological Research at the Graduate School of Social Research at the University of Paris. The man in question, Serge Moscovici, suggested that the decisive factors influencing a minority are consistency, self-righteousness, and the transfer of the majority to the minority’s side.
Let’s explore that, in regards to cryptography and blockchain’s evolution.
If you look deep into the problem, for many years now, there has been a constant struggle between the authorities on the one hand and the crypto-anarchists on the other. Each of these parties have serious arguments. The first one insists on “Anti-Laundering” and “KYC” procedures, because of the alleged threat of terrorism and drug trafficking. The second part is fiercely pursuing the right to freedom in personal spaces on the Internet, as well as anonymity.
In 2019, we still see the existence of Bitcoin and its development as digital gold. This clearly speaks about the perseverance of cryptographic and the reluctance to accept the rules laid forth by regulators. Bitcoin and its derivatives are in great demand.
Interestingly, a consistent minority is influential even when it is not popular among the majority. Our opinion leaders such as Vatalik Buterin, Roger Ver, Pavel Durov, Charlie Lee, and others, are more likely to be at the center of the discussion and to give compelling arguments in defense of their position.
In other words, the influence of the majority is always normative. “You must do this and carry out these procedures.” Regulators pass on from the top their bills, regulations, rules of the game, and required behavior. The influence of the minority is informative. They are fighting for the minds and thoughts of users. If the minority consistently defends its position year after year, then the majority begins to listen to the arguments of the minority. But consistency, alone, is not enough.
Demonstrating its perseverance and strength, the minority is able to push the majority to rethink its position. When a minority systematically expresses doubt in the “wisdom of the majority,” representatives of the majority begin to freely express their own doubts and may even join the minority.
How does it look in practice? Just look to the rhetoric of regulators. If, ten years ago, everything related to the blockchain technology was associated with drug trafficking and crime, then, in 2019, we would see the words of the President of the International Monetary Fund: “the State can and should play its part in supplying money to a crypto-economy”.
Consistency, self-righteousness, and the regular casting of arguments by opinion leaders turned the clock mechanism backwards. Most listened to the crypto minority thesis. But this is not enough.
The Transition Of The Majority To The Minority Side
This is one of the most interesting stages. The minority, with its numerous years of perseverance, was able to convince institutional players that tokens, smart contracts, stablecoins, and digital democracy on blockchain are only a small part of the economy of the future.
As such, that began a massive transition of the majority to the side of the minority. Telegram Messenger plans to launch its TON network the fall of this year. The Japanese Mizuho Financial Group, which has assets of $1.8 trillion, plans to launch its stablecoin for payments and remittances. Banking giant JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM), not wanting to stay behind, plans to launch its own cryptocurrency, JPM Coin. Lastly, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is developing a secret crypto project for WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram, which will provide an audience of about 2.7 billion people a month to the future tokens.
What is the main conclusion? The path of the minority is always very difficult. Opposition will laugh at you. You will have many skeptics and few supporters. In the Satoshi Nakamoto case, only one programmer — Hal Finney — believed in this groundbreaker and saw the prospects of blockchain. Only one person! Despite all this, it’s key to remember one main thing: the minority rules the future, and the majority will silently join you bit by bit.
However, it is necessary to understand that a new minority will appear then, surely, and overthrow us in the future. This is the fate of the technological race.
Sources: Financial Times, Entrepreneur.com, Barclays (LON:BARC) Research, Futurism.com, CNN.com, Bloomberg.com
Written By: Alexander Borodich
Crypto-Investing: How A Minority Wins A Majority In The Technological Race was originally published in UniversaBlockchain on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.